How to use a breast pump
As with any new business, it may take you some time to get comfortable with the use of a breast pump. It is important to be patient and not to be upset if you can’t immediately express enough milk. In the end, the breast pump simply can not cause you the same tender feelings as the baby. However, over time, your body will get used to it and learn how to start a rush of milk when using a breast pump, and the amount of expressed milk will increase.
1. There is no need to rush to the beginning of pumping
The first four weeks you and your baby will work together on the launch and formation of milk production. If the baby is healthy and breastfeeding is normal, you do not have to additionally express milk. Pumping, however, can help a lot if you need to leave your child for a while (see tip below). If this is not necessary, just enjoy spending this time with your child, and be sure that even if in the future you plan to express yourself regularly, there is absolutely no need to “train” your body by expressing milk in the first few weeks.
2. Cases when a baby cannot suckle
If your baby cannot eat directly on his chest, for example, because he was born prematurely or has special needs, or you have to be separated for some reason, start double pumping as soon as possible.
The study showed that the beginning of pumping in the first few hours after birth (when a healthy baby usually has the first breastfeeding) helps women to produce more milk in the first days and weeks1,2 and gives the baby the maximum chance in the future to eat exclusively mother’s milk.
If it is expected that the baby will be born prematurely, that he will need intensive care, or that breastfeeding will be difficult for other reasons, prepare in advance. Read about pumping, stock up on the necessary equipment, and seek the help of a consultant or a breastfeeding specialist.
Your maternity hospital most likely has a clinical double breast pump *, so ask them to show you how to use it. It is very important to express milk at a time when, under normal circumstances, you would feed the baby. Thus, your breasts will receive a signal to continue the production of milk. Try to start from 8 to 10 decantation per day3, and after the “arrival” of milk, continue to decant with the same frequency.
3. The right time
The first decantation should last at least 15 minutes.
Do not worry if the first time you fail to collect a lot of milk. Regular use of the breast pump should stimulate your breast, and soon it will begin to produce more milk.
Some mothers manage to express most of the milk an hour after feeding, while others prefer to express milk immediately after every second feeding. Try this at different times to see what works best for you. When you determine the optimal time, stick to this routine,
so that your body is accustomed to using a breast pump and tune in to additional milk production. You may be tempted to increase the intervals between pumping to collect more milk. But if you wait until the breast is full, you will not be able to completely empty it in one pumping 3.4, so you need to express often and regularly.
4. good hygiene
Always wash your hands before and after decanting, rinse all parts of the breast pump that come in contact with the baby’s milk and mouth, and thoroughly sanitize them at least once a day. All parts of the breast pump must be completely dry, after which they can be cleaned in a clean bag or container until next use.
5. Get ready
Prepare everything you need before decanting so as not to interrupt in the process. You may want to have a drink or a snack, you may need a telephone or a remote control from the TV, bottles or storage bags in which you will collect expressed milk, as well as a diaper in case something spills.
Top-bustier for expressing a special design allows decanting without the participation of hands, so with it it will be easier for you to set up a breast pump and do other things during decantation.
6. Sit back
The best position for pumping is the one in which you
conveniently. To release the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates a rush of milk, it is very important to relax. Any discomfort and distractions can interfere with this process5, so choose a comfortable and quiet place for pumping and arrange yourself so that there is support under your back and shoulders.
If you do not use a special top-bustier for expressing, keep the breast pump funnel between your thumb and forefinger, and support the chest with your remaining fingers and palm. Carefully apply the funnel to the chest, do not press on it too much, as this can lead to compression of the breast tissue and make milk secretion difficult.